In honor of Yogi Berra’s D-Day service to his country, the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center will recognize the 75th Anniversary of the iconic World War Two event with a tribute ceremony held in the Museum’s stadium-style theater at 2pm. The commemoration is part of a larger initiative coordinated by the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation that includes simultaneous tributes at the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Baseball Heritage Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
The afternoon program at the Yogi Berra Museum will feature a short program about the significance of the D-Day invasion, as well as the role of Seaman Second Class Lawrence Peter Berra on that historic day. Strong military and naval presence will contribute to the celebration, which is open to the public. Emcee for the tribute is Ed Randall, sports broadcaster and published author. Randall is a regular contributor to anthology shows on the MLB Network, and hosts the Sunday morning radio program, “Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball” on WFAN. He also founded a nonprofit called “Fans for the Cure” to educate about prostate cancer. Speakers will include Yogi’s oldest son, Larry Berra, and LTC (Ret) Joseph Bucco, State Supervisor of the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.
On June 6, 1944, before Yogi Berra played as a NY Yankee, he served his country as an 18-year-old gunner for the U.S. Navy, manning a rocket-boat during the Allied invasion of Normandy. In recognition of that service, he was awarded the inaugural Bob Feller Act of Valor Award in 2013. Bob Feller, a star pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, was the first active professional athlete to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces just days after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. The award in his name recognizes the integrity and dedication in serving our country that Bob Feller displayed – qualities embodied by Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra throughout his long life.
In addition to the 2pm tribute at the Yogi Berra Museum, the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation will commemorate the 75th D-Day anniversary with the relaunch of its mobile educational exhibit at the Baseball Heritage Museum in Cleveland. The exhibit focuses on the timeless importance of service, citizenship and sacrifice demonstrated by those who served in World War II, including 37 Baseball-Hall-of-Famers and more than 500 Major League Baseball players. Among those honored, in addition to Yogi Berra, is Leon Day, Negro Leagues star and fellow D-Day participant. Day will be featured in commemorative activities at the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City on the day as well.
Peter Fertig, President of the Act of Valor Foundation said, “The Foundation is honored to collaborate with three historic museums while honoring two special WWII Hall of Fame members – Yogi Berra and Leon Day – who served directly on D-Day. It is through this very strong connection between Major League Baseball and the United States Military that we honor and remember the incredible service and sacrifice of these great men, which infuses the legacy they have left behind for younger generations.”